‘Pay-as-you-go cafe’ opens in the UK

Just when you wonder what sort of foodservice concept will spring up next, along comes a cafe that only bills customers for the amount of time they spend inside.

Shoreditch-based Ziferblat offers food and drink for free, but charges customers a fixed hourly fee for the time they spend at the location.

Customers pay 3p per minute — or £1.80 an hour — for unlimited snacks, coffee and Wi-Fi and are also permitted to consume their own food. The venue has been labelled as the UK’s first ‘pay-as-you-go cafe’.

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The cafe is the brainchild of Ivan Meetin, who already runs 11 similar venues in Russia. It is the first time he has opened a version of it in the UK but he intends to launch more if it proves successful.

“Five days ago we had 20 customers and today we’ve already had 100, and we’ve even had to turn people away because we’ve run out of seats,” he said this week.

Meetin said that many customers leave donations on top of their 3p-per-minute bill. “People aren’t paying for consumption; we pay for the space and they pay for the time, so it’s about participation,” he added.

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